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1 killed, 1 injured in Northridge fiery crash

June 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
One motorist was killed and another ended up in the hospital after a fiery three-vehicle crash in Northridge early Monday.It happened about 7:30 a.m. near the intersection of Reseda Boulevard and Devonshire Street. According to investigators, a Mercedes Benz rear-ended an Infinity sedan.

Surveillance video from a car wash on the southeast corner of the intersection shows the Infinity moments after being rear ended. The car spun out of control and burst into flames, trapping the female driver inside.

"Regrettably, as a result of that, one person died inside the Infinity," said Los Angeles police Detective Bill Bustos. "It went out of control into the southeast corner and it caught on fire. There was another vehicle that's involved and that is the white Ford Focus that's also near the intersection."

Rescue crews had to use hydraulic equipment, or the Jaws of Life, to reach the victim in one of the cars. A pedestrian was hit by the debris.

People who live and work in the area say it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

Leo Edilyan was getting ready to open up his car wash when he saw what happened.

"I heard a crash, and I turned and looked, and saw the car flipped," Edilyan said. "It was skipping, the Mercedes, to the gas station. The other (car) was doing 360s and it caught on fire half way. That's when we ran to the car and tried to help the lady, but it didn't work out."

The car wash surveillance video also shows a person at the car wash using a hose to help extinguish the fire.

The intersection is known for frequently having collisions.

"It happens often," Edilyan said. "It happens, I would say, at least three, four times a week. Major ones, maybe once or twice a month. "

The identity of the woman who died has not been released.

The person behind the wheel of the Mercedes, which ended up on its roof at an Arco gas station, is hospitalized with moderate injuries.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.


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